It’s pretty easy to get yourself punched in the face, if you have your heart set on it. Visit any major town or city on a Saturday night and start casting aspersions about the morale standing of people’s relatives, and you’ll quickly find that there’s no shortage of people ready to rearrange your face.
But if you want to take that beating in a more controlled environment, you could do what YouTuber James Bruton has done with a little help from students at the University of Portsmouth. Between them, they’ve built a robot that will punch you at exactly the same point you’ve being hit in VR. Y’know, for a literally painful level of immersion.
So how do you build a robot that’s sentient enough to beat to living hell out of its human oppressors? Well, with a lot of time and effort. The robot wheels around on a wooden base with boxing-glove padded hands, powered by piston arms made from 3D-printed parts and footpumps. The whole thing looks like you’re taking on the bigger brother of Claptrap from Borderlands, basically.
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For his part, Bruton is armed with a shield and a neon baseball bat, which is tracked along with the robot by the HTC Vive’s cameras.
Given the time and money involved, you’re probably better off just paying somebody to punch you while you play, but don’t let me tell you how to spend your money. Apparently people wanting to get hurt in game is a real thing: back in 2014, Kickstarter had to suspend a project that would literally draw your blood every time you were shot in game. It had already managed to raise $3,390. The mind boggles.